The county Office of Immigration Information at the Office of the Mayor in partnership with the Exchange Club of Hilo, Aloha Exchange Club, Hilo Lions and Akaka Falls Lions Club celebrated its second annual Citizenship Day on Friday, September 16, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in Hilo.
The ceremony honored and recognized the newest Americans who were recently naturalized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The public was invited to attend this event, which was also a day to express pride in our citizenship.
September 17 is Constitution and Citizenship Day. This day commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. In 2004, Congress passed legislation to make Citizenship Day a federal holiday.
In the past, USCIS (formerly INS) administered the oath-taking ceremonies to those who successfully passed the US naturalization examination at the Third District Court’s Courthouse in Hilo. A few years ago, the agency ceased their neighbor island outreach services, and it now administers the oath of citizenship exclusively in Honolulu. This limits the ability of friends and relatives to attend the ceremonies.
The Immigration Information Office event will allow families and friends to celebrate what is considered a most profound day with those who have made a choice to become American citizens. The Immigration Office is urged anyone who recently took the oath of US Citizenship to participate in the Citizenship Day 2011. The Immigration Office also encourages those who are Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s or “green card” holders) who are interested in applying for US citizenship to attend because the office will distribute naturalization application and study materials at the event.